Most dealers right now are struggling with a fundamental part of their business: how best to deliver sold cars.
Specifically, how should dealers educate their paying customers on all the cool technology that a new car, pickup or SUV contains?
Should the salesperson do it as part of the overall relationship-building process, even though that will suck away valuable commission-earning time? Should dealers hire technology experts who would be able to understand each new technology in a product lineup?
And if dealers do hire a technology expert just to do deliveries, how do you pay that person? By the hour? By the delivery? Based on CSI returns?
Or maybe the whole process should be automated, turned over to animated displays and interactive games?
It’s a vexing issue that continues to confound dealers as the pace of technological innovation -- especially within the automotive cabin -- accelerates.
Dealers and even some automakers that have tried to tackle this issue have tended to focus on the technology part of the equation. They have scoured their employment applications for tech-savvy young folks in the vain hope that tech savvyness is somehow contagious -- that it will naturally infect their customers as they bang away helplessly on their onboard touch screens.
But that is wrong. Dealers looking to raise their delivery CSI scores shouldn’t get hung up on technology. Instead, they should focus their recruitment efforts on another key word: educate. Or education. Or educator. Whatever.
If dealers want to hire the best person available to teach customers how to use their new automotive technology, don’t hire a technology expert. Hire a teacher.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, future employment prospects for new teachers trail those in many other sectors of the economy. Meanwhile, the mean wage nationally was $54,550 in 2012 for all primary and secondary teachers, higher in some areas, lower in others.
With all of the economic and security pressures on public education in the United States, spending a career in a classroom isn’t as rewarding as it once was. But college-educated professionals trained to impart knowledge to those seeking it seem uniquely qualified to explain fully the intricacies of a modern infotainment system.
Maybe I’m wrong, but if I were an auto dealer, I’d be on the lookout for school districts looking to trim their headcounts.
Then I’d stand outside, applications in hand, recruiting the best teachers I could find walking out the door.